Pro-marijuana forces in San Jose, Calif., had an idea to flex their political muscles: Offer free and discounted weed to medical-marijuana users in exchange for voting. Surely, scores of people would turn out to cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary, right?
Doesn’t look that way. Turnout in San Jose’s primary race, where five City Council seats and the mayor’s post were on the ballot, was abysmally low. This, despite Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition’s “Weed for Votes” campaign, in which participating cannabis clubs offered free and discounted marijuana to people with an “I Voted” sticker. From San Jose Mercury News:
During rush hour at one San Jose polling place, only a dozen voters cast their ballots in the first hour and a half this morning. Barely three dozen at another. But precinct inspector Bart Connally, at his Rose Garden precinct with 1,400 registered voters, said “it’s not many, but for a primary, it’s not too bad.”
The offer of free or discounted marijuana at some San Jose dispensaries for all customers showing their “I Voted” sticker or ballot stub didn’t seem to bring a rush to the polling places by midmorning. By late morning Papadon’s Collective on Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen received just a few calls about the offer.
In a city of 415,000 registered voters — one of California’s largest cities — only about 85,000 ballots were cast in a wide open race for mayor. And voter turnout county-wide is around 20 percent.
Also on the primary ballot: Gov. Jerry Brown. Santa Clara County turnout during the last gubernatorial primary peaked at 43 percent. In 2006, the last time there was an open race for San Jose mayor, it came in at 37 percent.
It’s not all bad news for marijuana proponents: Some of the cannabis coalition’s preferred candidates triumphed Tuesday, such as Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, who will face San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo in the November runoff for mayor of the city.
About 80 percent of votes cast in San Jose were expected to come via mail anyway, but the low turnout is not all that surprising; experts were predicting a 20-year-low turnout in Santa Clara County. And if free weed isn’t enough to reverse that tide, then what is?
What We're Following See More »
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.
"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.
Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.